Located within walking distance from most the Northwest Crossing homes means a built-in clientele. We sauntered in on a Tuesday night at 7:30 expecting to have no problem getting a table. The place was packed, but as luck would have it, there was one little table, recently vacated, next to the kitchen.
The new menu has been streamlined into a less overwhelming format. Although there are actually more items on each page, the way it's arranged is more user-friendly. Dishes are separated into categories such as appertivos, burros and mariscos and the signature "rose" still denotes a house specialty.
When we sat down in our chairs, the newly polished floor felt like an ice skating rink as we skidded around in our seats. Chips and house salsa arrived almost immediately as did water and a server to take our drink order.
La Rosa is famous (at least locally) for their house margaritas, so we couldn't pass up the chance to indulge. I got the Hypnotic, a very fruity infusion of tequila, passion fruit liqueur, lime and margarita mix. It was good and refreshing, but no showstopper. My dining partner wisely ordered the specialty Jalapeno-Strawberry marg, a showstopper with a tiny tinge of heat to take some of the sweetness off the strawberry.
The reverse happened for our entrees. I ordered a dish denoted with a rose-the Carnitas de Peurco ($14.95)-which was luscious. Big chunks of pork marinated and cooked in a traditional "cazo" with onions and bell pepper. Fork tender and full of moist flavor, this was a wonderful meal.
My dining partner ordered the Tequila Tacos ($14.95), skirt steak strips basted with a citrus-cilantro tequila glaze, and served with avocados in corn or flour tortillas. Sounds great, but it was only slightly above average. The steak was overcooked and it was hard to discern the citrus-cilantro tequila glaze. It needed something to moisten up the whole thing...sauce, more avocado, something.
The accompaniments to our meals were very good, soft cooked pinto beans, pico de gallo, rice, and salsa. The portions will stuff the average person. We opted to leave a bit and order dessert from a menu. Flan ($4.95) was the only thing that tempted us and it was fabulous. Burnt sugar sauce oozed over smooth custard and big chunks of creamy banana.
For years now La Rosa has been one of Bend's most popular Mexican restaurants. It has won multiple awards including Best Mexican from this newspaper on several occasions. Odds are, with a new location, its popularity will only increase.La Rosa
Mt Washington Dr & NW Crossing Dr, 647-1624. 11am - 10pm everyday